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Eric Pietrocupo
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Since I have less time and players than before, I try to focus on designing small games for 1 or 2 players. But when I design a game, I want a certain level of depth. Even if a game is small, I don't want to be a dull and simple game. So I was wondering what kind of components (or combinations of components) that could be used for that kind of design.

So far, I am using cards since first they can be stacked, does not take much place to carry around and it's also easy to produce. But it also allow a lot of gameplay options as cards can me played, moved around the table, shuffled, flipped, rotated, etc. Which gives a lot of option for deeper gameplay.

Is there other kind of components that has the properties listed above?

One idea was those "Ice Dice" translucent stackable pyramids which allowed to create tons of games with it.
 
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chris thatcher
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A wooden cube has proven versatility.
 
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Carthoris Pyramidos
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larienna wrote:
One idea was those "Ice Dice" translucent stackable pyramids which allowed to create tons of games with it.

Yes, Looney Pyramids are excellent for game design. In addition to being stackable, they come in ten colors and three sizes, and can indicate direction. I am a special fan of games that use Pyramids for pieces and cards for a modular board, such as Zark City, Gnostica, and Unocitta. I've never seen a good solo game of this type, and I think that would be awesome.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
A wooden cube has proven versatility.


Yes cubes are used in a lot of games, but cubes by themselfves does nothing. They need to be combined with cards, boards or other. Still, even if popular, it have basically 2 function

- count stuff ( with a track or a nb of cubes)
- mark stuff (Geographic position, ownership)

Unless you have large cubes or decals to put on them, there is not much more information.

In fact small dice used as cubes has more depth since it has sides. While cube disks/tile have a side and is easier to stack.

-------

So that is how they call it, looney pyramids. Can they be bought separately or it's just easier to buy a game that use them?
 
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Charles Ward
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Sort of tooting my own horn again here, but I came up with a simple 2-4 player tile laying (matching) game called KIKA. This abstract game has been trimmed down to from 1.6 million to 972 variants. Sort of like 504, but this game you choose to include up to 5 rule cards to a set of 2 base rule cards. Since they are double sided, it turns out that just these cards produce that many variations. Each additional card (if there were any on the way whistle), multiples the number of variants by 3.



Here is the WIP but the game is at the print shop, so I will make an entry soon. https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1590070/wip-kika-972-colour...
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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So far it seems the best options are:

- Cards: Movable, stackable, can be hold in hand. can be played

- Dice: Movable, rollable, can record a number

- Token: Movable, only 2 values if flipped, stackable if right size and thickness.

Tiles are similar to tokens or cards and can be connected with each other, but they are bigger and generally requires more storage space unless you use a low quantity of them.
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John
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larienna wrote:
Can looney pyramids be bought separately or it's just easier to buy a game that use them?


Yes, you can buy packs of them e.g. a rainbow stash
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John
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larienna wrote:
Yes cubes are used in a lot of games, but cubes by themselves does nothing.

Flora is a tile laying game but could be played with cubes. It was originally designed for people to utilize the animal cubes from the first edition of Agricola after they were usurped by the animeeples. (Admittedly it may not have that much depth - I've not played it enough to know - I expect it could be solved if someone wanted to put the effort in)
 
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John
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Other ideas:

Square tiles - like Bananagrams, Appletters - I'm sure someone could come up with a totally different kind of game using Bananagrams type tiles (or actual Bananagrams tiles). Qwirkle, Aquarius, Carcassonne and other tile laying games are one way of using square tiles, but I expect there are others.

Hex tiles - Hive Pocket. The advantage of tiles is that I can stuff Hive Pocket into a pocket without fear of it getting damaged, whilst I might not do the same for a game with card tiles.

Dominoes - double-six or another standard type, or custom dominoes.

Existing playing cards - Decktet as well as standard playing cards (including removing or adding cards, large index + normal deck with the same back gives extra options).

Wood discs - Push It, Elk Fest - though I'm guessing this isn't the kind of game you were thinking of!

Pencil & paper, buttons - check out CarlosLuna's geeklists for various games that can be played with minimal components (he has linked them from his profile page).
 
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Bojan Prakljacic
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I usually find ideas for my games in most peculiar places.

Now, you are looking for components that can be used in micro-games. So, far everybody came to the conclusion that cards, dices and tokens/cubes are your best option.

But, the thing is, we only use components we can comprehend, can relate to and are familiar to us in some form. Well, frak that. Why be limited with usual and mostly used? If we don't take risks and innovate above the thresholds, how can we brake barriers?

How to use unfamiliar stuff, make it into something player can relate to, be completely original and extravagant, but understandable in the same time?

Now we get back to the first sentence of this rant: finding ideas in most peculiar places.

Yesterday I watched a documentary about which doctors and the spiritual healing. In one segment a tribe shaman was tossing bunch of bones and rocks with symbols on them. He would look at them and from the way they fell in correlation with each other he was able to 'read' about spirits or demons that were making a tribesman sick.
AS I was watching him tossing those objects and 'reading' them, to me, from my perspective of a board game designer, it looked like he is playing a game. His components were those color pebbles and small animal bones. His board was a dirty under his feet. His goal was to find out which demon or evil spirit was possessing his patient so he can use correct ritual to heal him.
So, in a way, he was playing a spiritual kind of a board game. One which made perfect sense to him, but to us t would look and sound ridiculous!

So, what is a dice for us, if not a tool to 'read' or find order in chaos. Same as he was doing.
We put a dice into conjunction with rules and tables and what not, and it has a sense - for us. It became an object of importance in our game.
Based on that, anything can became object of importance if we believe it has a place in the imaginary world we are making , so we don't have to use dices, cards, cubes. We just need to form and idea and set of rules that is using something in a specific manner that will define our 'game' as a component of that game. And it doesn't have to be similar to tools we are using now, we just have to put it into perspective.

So, in that regard, your micro-game doesn't have to use cards, dices, cubes, or anything that any other game is using. When you take that truth as a revelation, you can make something quite extraordinary. But, still, depending how much you dare to brake those barriers, it can be similar enough so people can understand its purpose and learn how to use it following the rules of your 'game', your reality.

I hope I'm making a sense to you, lol. Sometimes I go too far with these rants. XD
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Eric Pietrocupo
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I kind of get the idea to find inspiration elsewhere that what has been used. The goal is to find ideas with high density of information that could have multiple use.

I could come up using USB key as board game components. True if I find an interesting piece that could be used in a board game, I could give it a try.

But my objective is more to create a sub set of components to restrict my design when making games. Or try to come with game design ideas out of those components.

My goal right now is not to discover new components.

----------------------------------------------------------------

I have carcassone and tile laying games does have multiple uses (average info density) but they takes a lot of storage space. Tiles could be made smaller, like 1 inch square, and still be convenient to manipulate. Else having a game with few tiles (around 20 - 25 tiles) could work too.
 
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Bojan Prakljacic
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In that case you don't need nothing more than cards. Number or information you can put on one card can be grater than number or info you can set on a die, cube, token or whatever.
And if you want to limit yourself, restrict the number of cards. Look at the games like Tides of time.

 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Yes, sure cards are awesome, but even if they are mobile, they are less easy to move than cubes, tokens or dice. So in that case, I would combine cards with cubes, dices, etcs. It really depends on the game. And sometimes, you want to do other things than card games ... for a change.

But just with the 3 or 4 pieces listed above, the possibilities seems large enough to support various kind of designs.

For example, I have just thought that dice of various size (D4, 6, 8, etc) could be used as troops miniatures that you move around the board and roll when it's time to resolve battles. Using only cards, it would be harder to accomplish.

-------------------------------------------------------

Else the a problem I though with small box games is the size or the presence of a board. Either you need a modular board, either a small foldable board that fit's in the box. You could also use cards as board, But the possibility to use board is much more restricted.

In my Eldritch Express game, I managed to make a 2 fold board to fit in a small FFG box. I think that is the biggest you could make for small games.

 
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Charles Ward
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larienna wrote:
Is there other kind of components that has the properties listed above?


larienna wrote:
My goal right now is not to discover new components.


Are you looking to find new ways to use regular components to provide more milage out of them?

All of the standards components can be used in different ways, some more practical than others. I guess its down to how far you want to stretch the theme, or how fiddely do you want the game to be, know what I mean?
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Bojan Prakljacic
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larienna, soon enough I'll post in this thread (not in your topic off course) a game that uses 38 poker sized cards, one small board made out of 2 Tarot sized cards (that you set adjacent to each other), and 5 completely new components that are actually one component broken in 5 small pieces, together with 12 small, circular plastic tokens in various colors (2 of the same color for each player, so 6 players 12 = tokens) and a rule book that comes on one folded A5 page.

All of that can be put inside the small box, optionally with a small scoring pad.
That's a micro-game.
Cost might be from 12 to 15, or 20 bucks, depending on the quality of components and addition of a scoring pad.

It takes no more than 30 min to play (time doesn't depend on the number of players since downtime practically doesn't exist) and it's not based on any game that I know or can think of it so far. Main 'mechanic' of the game uses the way of how do we perceive given images and interpret them individually, and how much our views are close to views of other persons, if they are close to us (someone we know) or a stranger.

It is a very original game, if I would have to draw similarities I would go with Mysterioum or maybe Dixit, but it has it's own mojo and can stand on it's own as a new type of a game.

So, I would really encourage searching for new kind of components and new means to convey mood, feel and theme in your games. Doing too much of the same is making us lazy to explore. Even if you fail in that quest, it is worth it.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
Are you looking to find new ways to use regular components to provide more milage out of them?


Well, that could be one thing. I mean when you look at a component, you try to see the various ways it can be used to maximize it's potential which could lead to new ways of using that component.

It reminds me of a game where dices are stacked like a pyramid. That could be considered as a new way to use a known component.

It does not mean that components with little depth should simply be ignored. Sometime they could fit your needs or you can come up with a new function for it. Like for example "Cube Towers". But when thinking about your game, you would more instinctively look for those preferred components.

Which is somewhat currently the case with cards, I am naturally more attracted to cards, but sometimes I want to do other things.
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Kevin Garnica
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Besides the Icehouse Pyramids and the Decktet (which have already been mentioned), I'll also recommend a few more items:

Badger Deck
Rainbow Deck
Piecepack/Infinite Board Game
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Bojan Prakljacic
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Mystic Vale use those see-through cards where you can stack other cards and build new ones. That was a brilliant usage of current technology and a new idea put together into fresh, but also known concept.
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Yes mystic vale is interesting, it adds up new options to cards. So far the most versatile components seems to be Cards and Dices. Dice are a bit harder to produce with custom faces, but there are still a lot of options avalaible like for example sticker on dices.

The generic set of cards is not really what I am looking for. They can be used for prototyping, but I will end up designing my own cards in the end. As for the piece pack type of games. What's interesting is to see is the choice of components.



Because the chosen components indicates the ones you think are going to be the most useful in all game design. Here it seems what was chosen is tiles, tokens, pawns and dice. The quantities are pretty low. I am pretty sure a lot of games can be designed with those pieces. But I cannot say that the level of depth will be very high.
 
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Kevin Garnica
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I'd suggest taking a glance at some of the games that have been designed for the Piece Pack/Infinite Board Game. I know there is a book (maybe more) that collects various games for the system. It's certainly worth checking out.
 
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patrick mullen
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My first thought was Lego. When I was a tyke, it was my most common game design component. With all of the colors and different ways you can put it together, it makes for really cool possibilities. Of course Lego is copyright and they already came out with their game lines (about time!). But something where the pieces actually can attach to each other expands possibilities.

What about using cubes that have dimples and marbles? Some sides of the cube can have a trach that ends in a dimple, some have just a straight track. You can make a track out of them. If you put a marble in one end, it will go along the track and then land in the dimple. The marble can have different colors on its sides, when it sits into the dimple it will show one of the colors.

Cards are good - you can use the smaller sized cards (think codenames). Have a couple standees that you can slip the cards into if you want to move them around. Maybe the standees are quite different - a wire figure made out of like, paper clips, with places on its "hands" and "head" where a card can be inserted. There can be other wire shapes that have clips to insert cards. The wire figures can fold up and go in the box easily, but when it expands you have all these cool 3d shapes moving around with cards stuck in them.

I like the idea of attaching cards together to make something else. There is that game where you put the cards radially to form the petals of the flower (so pretty that game). Maybe you attach cards together with a paper clip and they make something new? I got some different colored paper clips at the store the other day because I thought they looked cool.

The color of the paper clip you use to attach one card to another represents the kind of connection?

Or what if the game is only made out of paper clips and wires and it's all about building different kinds of networks. You roll a color die and then have to attach that color clip somewhere in the network. You have to attach at the ends unless there are two of the same color next to each other.

Instead of cards that are all the same size, make a card game where the cards you use are all different sizes and shapes. The bigger the card, the harder it is to fit it into the tableu, but the more powerful it is. You start with smaller cards and when you play them next to each other, you can draw a card that is equal to the new size of the area you played.

Take a jigsaw puzzle, completely ignore the picture that it was supposed to form, and make a game out of it.

A game that involves colored post-it-notes and colored pencils, and is not a drawing a picture game. Yes you use up the components but you can always get more cheaply.
 
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